NBA Draft 2012: How Kentucky Star Anthony Davis Must Improve His Game

Ralph LongoAnalyst IIIJune 25, 2012

LEXINGTON, KY - APRIL 17:  Anthony Davis talks with the media during the news conference in which he announced he will enter the NBA draft at Joe Craft Center on April 17, 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

While it is all but certain that former University of Kentucky star Anthony Davis will be selected first overall in the NBA draft by the New Orleans Hornets, he still can make some improvements to his game. Davis is a great player, but there are weak spots in his style of basketball than can certainly be exploited at the next level. 

So, here are three ways that Anthony Davis can improve his game. If he is able to do these things, his potential is unlimited, and he could be a great, all-star caliber type of player for many, many years to come. 


He Has to Get Physically Stronger

This is perhaps the most important area for Davis to improve upon once he gets drafted into the NBA. Davis is without a doubt a very physically gifted player; his height and length are the sort of things NBA scouts dream about. In fact, his physical frame reminds me a lot of OKC star Kevin Durant.  

However, the difference between the two is that Durant does not need to play in the post and fight off players with the strength of Andrew Bynum or Dwight Howard up and down the floor night in and night out. Davis will have to do this, and in order to maximize his effectiveness in the post and on the boards, he'll need to get stronger. 

Davis is generously listed at about 220 pounds at the moment. If he wants to become an elite player, he will have to bulk up and in the next couple of years add at least 20 pounds to his frame, if not more. If he can do this and keep his athleticism, he will be scary in the post. He will be able to hang with every big man in the league. 

Davis is still just 19 years old, so he has youth on his side. Hopefully, he will fill out and his body will naturally do a lot of the work for him. If not, he has NBA strength coaches that will put him on the right diet and get him healthily up in weight. Either way, he should be alright, but he must get physically stronger if he wants to live up to his potential. 


He Must Improve His Jump Shot

Due to Davis' lack of strength, he is going to need to learn how to shoot effectively from mid-range. He does not need to be Ray Allen, but it would really help him out a lot if he could be a threat to knock down shots from say 12-15 feet with relative consistency. It would add another dimension to his game and would only improve his effectiveness on the offensive end. 

Davis never really needed to use his jump shot on a consistent basis last season for the most part, as he was so dominant over his college opposition that he was able to stay in close to the basket. However, in the NBA there will come times where he will not be able to score down low and will need to make adjustments. 

If he cannot knock down jump shots, there is the risk that on some nights he will basically disappear on the offensive end. He is certainly capable of becoming an above average shooter for a big man, as he can knock down jump shots when he takes his time.

He has to learn not to rush and square up to the basket. If he does this, he could be used similarly to a guy like Kevin Garnett. In fact, they have very similar body types and playing styles. If Davis can develop the jump shot of KG, watch out.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 02:  Anthony Davis #23 and Marquis Teague #25 of the Kentucky Wildcats block Jeff Withey #5 of the Kansas Jayhawks in the National Championship Game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Mercedes-Benz Super
Jeff Gross/Getty Images


Be More Patient On Defensive End

Anthony Davis is one of the most gifted natural shot blockers that we have seen enter the NBA draft in recent years. He just has a knack for blocking shots, plain and simple. So, how could this possibly be a bad thing? 

The reason why it can hurt his effectiveness is that in the NBA players are much better at pump faking and drawing defenders into the air to get a foul call. Davis cannot play as aggressively in the pros as he did in college for that very reason. He always looks to block the shot, but at times is impatient and leaves his feet when he should not. 

If NBA players are able to pick up on their ability to get him in the air, he will be committing a ton of fouls and his effectiveness as a shot blocker will be diminished, as he will be spending a lot of time on the bench because he will always be in foul trouble. 

Davis must learn to be more patient on defense, and not go up in the air so easily. It will definitely take some time and coaching, but if he can learn to read the offensive players better and not be drawn into the air so easily, he will be an elite shot blocker in the NBA. He just has to tone down his aggressiveness a little bit and be more disciplined on the defensive end. 

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